Good news out of Mars from the little lunchbox that could — in the seven times that MOXIE has run since it arrived in February 2021, it has reached its target production of six grams of oxygen per hour, which is in line with the output of a modest tree here on Earth. The research team which includes MOXIE engineers report that although the solid oxide electrolysis machine has shown it can produce oxygen at almost any time or day of the Martian scale, they have not shown what MOXIE can do at dawn or dusk, when the temperature changes are substantial, but they say they have ‘an ace up (their) sleeve’ that will let them do that. We can’t wait to see what they mean.
In other, somewhat funnier space news — early last Sunday morning, the ESA’s Solar Orbiter was cruising by Venus as part of a gravity-assist maneuver to get the Orbiter closer to the Sun. Two days before the Orbiter was to reach its closest point to the spacious star, it spat a coronal mass ejection in the general direction of both Venus and the Orbiter (dibs on that band name), as if to say ‘boo’. Fortunately, the spacecraft is designed to withstand such slights, but the same cannot be said for Venus — these events have their way with Venus’ atmosphere, depleting it of gasses.